Most students will come across the option to enroll in an online course, whether they are looking specifically at online colleges, or are looking at online sections of courses typically held in person. It is up to the students then to determine whether an online course is the right course for them, and that they are not simply enrolling in a virtual class because they feel they will be less work or easier to pass. Many online courses are just the opposite, requiring more diligence from a student, more independent work, and less interaction with that course’s instruction.
If you’re someone who enjoys class discussion or the immediate feedback you may get from questions asked in class, a course online may not be the right fit for you. If, however, you enjoy seeing new uses of technology in the classroom, and thrive in a more independent environment, an online class may be exactly what you need. Whether you’re looking to supplement your existing course load, or thinking about whether you could handle online courses full-time, make sure you’ve done your research and have considered all of the pros and cons. And then try it, since an experience with an online course will be the best way to determine whether it’s right for you.
An important part of finding a good online course is making sure that course is legitimate and will lead to a legitimate degree. The biggest factor may be determining whether the course is run by an accredited institution, as those must meet standards set forth by state and federal governments. But there are things to consider outside of accreditation, such as what will be expected from you in that course, whether there is both an online and offline support network for students enrolled in the course, and if a future employer would recognize your online coursework as valuable. We’ve come up with a list of tips that will help you determine whether the course you’ve signed up for will help you meet your college goals, or whether you should look elsewhere to fulfill your course requirements.
Online courses aren’t for everyone, and it takes quite a bit of time management and a commitment not to procrastinate when you’re enrolled in a class with far less oversight and direction than a class you’d take in person in a lecture hall. While every good online course will include some kind of support network for you, you’ll need to be a much more independent learner, turning in assignments and following along with the trajectory of the class on your own. We’ve come up with some things to consider before enrolling in an online course, as it’s always best to be prepared and informed when enrolling in any college class, whether it’s virtual or not.
An increasing number of courses on traditional college campuses are considered hybrid courses, meaning they combine both the benefits of in-person lectures and online learning. If you’re interested in enrolling in such a course, make sure you do your homework and know whether a majority of the course is spent either in person or online, or whether the class offers equal face-to-face classroom instruction and computer-based learning. The setup of such courses may differ depending on the college offering the class and the professor leading instruction. We’ve come up with some advantages and disadvantages of these classes that appear in most variations of hybrid courses.
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by Izzy Hall
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